At the end of the season and as covid restrictions lifted, Holly and I flew over to the UK to spend some much needed time with her mum, family and friends. On my way home, almost exactly a year after Dad passed away, I received a message from Deborah that so too had his soul mate, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth was a kind, caring and compassionate woman, but she was also fierce, daring and bold. Her and Dad’s relationship was one to envy. Finding each other in their late 70s they spent a wonderful nine years together. What they shared together was truly beautiful. They supported each other boldly, affectionately and always as each other’s equal. They complimented each other flawlessly.
I learnt so much during the time that I spent with Elizabeth; her ability to see the good and the joy in the most pure of things was uplifting, her willingness and determination to retrain at university in her 50s after she split from her husband was inspirational, but the most significant of all, was her ability to joke around – never one to shy away from sharing a funny story or miss an opportunity to add her own flare.
Whenever I witnessed even the most mild disagreement between her and Dad, Dad would always gently hold Elizabeth’s hand, laugh, and with that cheeky glint in his eyes, he’d shoot me a wry smile, and say, “we’re too old to fight.” Elizabeth would pretend she hadn’t heard him, then shoot me a subtle wink that said, “he’s right, but he can’t have all the credit.”
As we entered what would be our final off season in Halls Gap I focused on finishing the remaining jobs outside. Over the next few months I worked on refining the garden and landscaping. This involved lining the edges of the road and car park with railway sleepers picked up from a friend’s farm in Stawell and then wood chipping the garden using wood chips from a local arborist. I was able to use some of these railway sleepers for the platforms at the side entrance and the washing machine as well.
While carting the rocks, Jimmy also brought in some higher quality railway sleepers to use at the front of the house and for the outdoor bath platform. All the while I continued carting rocks around the garden, all up, this mulch carting process took over a year and a half. A lesson in patience and a gentle reminder to appreciate the smaller things, to give the mind space to think about whatever it wants. Sometimes that can be thinking of nothing, which is somewhat relieving.
Inside the house there were shelves to set, stools to weld, mirrors to craft, wine racks to fit, sofas to build and curtains to hang!